Death Valley Plants
Black Turtle:
Goat-Roping Heathens
Quick Summary:

A group of boys endure a small town culture war instigated by a local pastor. Their aspirations and goals are threatened by the crazy behavior of the adults around them.

Alternate Quick Summary:

It is often the case that children have a firmer grasp of reality than many of the adults who are supposed to look out for their welfare. In this story a group of boys must deal with an overly zealous local pastor who wants to cancel an event they are looking forward to. They also have to put up with a school counselor who believes every poorly constructed study published by so-called mental health authorities. Will the boys be able to endure all the crazy behavior of these two pillars of the community or will insanity prevail?

More information:
Goat-Roping Heathens at Amazon.com
Goat-Roping Heathens at lulu.com
Back Cover Blurb:

     Pastor John Wilson has quite an agenda set for the small desert town of Liberty. He hopes to assert his influence on the local public school district. He desires to change the way a local tradition, the Goat-Roping Contest, is celebrated. He also wants to keep the local desert safe from terrorists in search of uranium and so he organizes parishioners to keep a vigilant watch for suspicious activity. The good pastor's ambitions could impact the lives of even those outside of his flock if he has his way.

     Patrick, James, and Sawyer are boys who live in Liberty. Patrick was sent to live with his uncle, who is a teacher in Liberty, because he got into too much trouble in the city and was too much for his mother to handle. Almost immediately he and a classmate, James, find themselves in a lot of trouble with their teacher and with the school counselor, who just happens to be a member of Pastor Wilson's church. Sawyer's mother recently joined Pastor Wilson's congregation and he is anxious that her recently acquired religious fervor could spell the end of all the fun in his life. All three boys hope to participate in the upcoming annual Goat-Roping Contest, but they fear that Pastor Wilson might keep them from enjoying the event.

     Will Pastor Wilson win this small town culture war or will the boys be able to enjoy all that Liberty has to offer? Join friends Sawyer, James, and Patrick, along with several other friends, as they live through and are impacted by this political battle quietly unfolding around them.


(WARNING: Some content may be somewhat inappropriate for children under the age of fourteen.)

More info at Amazon.com
More Information:

     Religious people can be quite aggressive about imposing the restrictions on behavior defined by their religion on others. Typically this is done by changing public policy and creating laws and ordinances that are in harmony with religious doctrine. Pastor John has a clear vision of how he'd like to shape the town of Liberty. In fact, he is quite persuasive and is able to gain many allies who support the changes he would like to bring about. However, not everyone is okay with his plans. In fact, the group of boys who are the protagonists of this story are quite apprehensive about the pastor's agenda. They enjoy violent video games and other activities that are disapproved of by the pastor.

     The religious orthodoxy of the pastor becomes coupled with the political correctness of a newly appointed school administrator, Mr. Stewart, to create an even more restrictive atmosphere at the local school. Mr. Stewart has some peculiar beliefs about what he calls Best Practices. He draws heavily on bogus and agenda-driven research to attempt to convince teachers that he knows how they should teach and to instruct parents on how to bring up their children. Between the religious orthodoxy of Pastor Wilson and the social orthodoxy of Mr. Stewart, it looks as if the town will be turned around and put on a straight and narrow path early in the book. The boys soon realize that all their fun will come to an end if these two tyrrants have their way!

     Does the town stand idly by as Pastor Wilson and Mr. Stewart impose their narrow orthodoxies on its citizens? Do the boys miss out on the fun of life as the town transforms into a haven of perpetual pruddishness? Or do the two would-be party poopers self-distruct as they push too hard to rob townspeople of the joy of life. Safety, piety, and religious dogma are all fine and good if individuals are free to accept or reject them, but when imposed, they rob people of their liberty and without liberty, life is just dull and pointless. Besides, the name of the town in the book is Libery and with a name like Liberty, the town has something to live up to!